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“Oh, no, it wasn’t the airplanes…it was Beauty killed the Beast.” Police Lieutenant, King Kong (1)

Released on March 2nd, 1933, King Kong has been identified by the Library of Congress as, “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant,” and has been selected for preservation by the National Film Registry. Responsible for launching the “giant beast/monster” genre of sci-fi films, the original King Kong was the first of its kind.

The famous Walter Plunkett, known for his work on Gone With the Wind, was the costume designer for the film. Mr. Plunkett had worked on over 150 various projects throughout his career and became the authority in period design. In 1935, he quit working in the film industry forever, saying that his creativity was stifled in the field.

Luckily, he waited to retire until after completing the original King Kong film. Thanks to his deliberate costuming, the character of Ann Darrow has gone down in history as the epitome of the “damsel in distress” and the ultimate “scream queen.” Plunkett often used exceedingly feminine silhouettes to accentuate Ann Darrow’s waist, which would then flair out in a fuller skirt at the bottom. In the final, climactic moments of the film, Darrow can be seen in a sleeveless slip-style gown with her curled hair pulled back, a damsel in distress no more.

Sources 1, 2, 3, 4   

Written by MaryKate Guidry, Marketing Intern at Stylitics.

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